Thursday evening, we saw why the team chose not to re-sign CB Terrance Mitchell, as they invested those resources in free agent CB Troy Hill instead. Hill, a Youngstown, Ohio native, played for the Rams from 2015-2020. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Hill signed a 4-year, $24 million deal.
The #Browns are signing former #Rams CB Troy Hill to a 4-year, $24M deal, source said, adding to their defensive haul in free agency. The Youngstown native, who had three defensive TDs last year, returns home.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2021
Hill gives Cleveland some more options with how they handle the secondary. Although he’s played the outside cornerback role in his career, he played in the slot a lot in 2020, and ended up grading very well in that role by Pro Football Focus.
New #Browns CB Troy Hill:— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) March 18, 2021
top-20 last year in defensive grade and coverage grade
16th in passer rating allowed
...and alllllll despite being the 10th most targeted CB pic.twitter.com/t4Fap1ezhV
We all know the big question mark that still surrounds CB Greedy Williams. If he’s able to return, the team would love to utilize him as one of their outside cornerbacks, pushing Hill to the slot. The scenario I see right now is this: in two-cornerback sets, Hill and CB Denzel Ward are your top two guys. If Cleveland is in the nickel, then Williams will play the outside, and Hill will shift into the slot. It offers the team more flexibility than if they had re-signed Mitchell, who would only play on the outside. Additionally, CB Kevin Johnson underachieved as a nickel corner last season, so Hill is most certainly an upgrade.